Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Bacterias Are Stockpiling Uranium!

During today's daily perusal of the sciencey blogs on the sciencey topics, of science, I came across an intriguing piece about how the Geobacter sulfurreducens uses protein wires to zap uranium out of groundwater. This is a finding with immense practical applications, as these bacteria can be used to clean up contamination around old uranium mines and former weapons factories.

Study authors Dena Cologgi et al forgot to mention one key detail in their study, however.

What are all those bacteriums doing with all that uranium?

I can think of a number of things, none of them good.

They might be ingesting the uranium atoms in hopes that the radioactivity will give them super powers, such as flight, invisibility, or extreme antibiotic resistance. That's not good. They might be bundling them to sell to a rogue nation and/or prions. Also not good. They might even be attempting to build their own functioning nuclear warhead, one atom at a time.

That is catastrophic.

When the bacteria have the bomb, there's no telling what these germs of mass destruction will do with it. Perhaps they'll use it tactically, wiping out pharmaceutical plants around the country. Perhaps they'll use it as a bargaining tool, forcing doctors to stop prescribing antibiotics or they'll turn our major cities to rubble. Perhaps they'll just use them for terrorist revenge attacks on genetic engineering labs that experiment on E. coli.

The possibilities are endless. And they're all terrifying. Run!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got some feedback for The Math Skeptic? Post it here and keep it civil.